"(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby
He had not meant to be gone long. Not that it mattered any. Not that anyone was keeping track. But it had taken him days to recover from the effort it had taken to summon the first portal. And then days to recover from the effort it had taken to summon the second, failed portal. And then weeks to walk back to Pangea.
Weeks because he had to stop frequently to catch his breath, to rest the sore muscles, to lay down his weary head.
But he is here now. Here, where there are precious few shadows for him to be lost to. Here, where he must seek out the darkness. And sometimes he wonders if perhaps he might be better off someplace else, someplace where the darkness could always find him. Someplace where he was not reminded constantly of his strangeness.
It has been days since he returned. Days since he tucked himself away in a cave not unlike the one where his mother gave birth to the twins and slept. And slept. And slept.
He emerges now, some days later, and blinks into the sun.
He has grown accustomed to all that light. Absorbs the heat heat of it until it feels like burning alive. Until it’s almost unbearable. But he is darkness, something like an idea, and though he has a heart he is not convinced that he can die. How can he, when he’s already a ghost?
He sees her. She is hard to miss. His antithesis. And he moves toward her, much like the first time they’d met. And, much like the first time, the breathing is shallow and labored by the time he reaches her.
“Beyza,” he murmurs and he smiles his cheshire cat smile, steadily meeting her gaze. Unlike the first time, when it had burned so terribly just to glance in her direction that he had spent the entire interaction staring resolutely at the red clay underfoot.
Of all the figures Beyza might expect to approach her as she moves through Pangea, Jamie would not have made the list. She had not seen much of the shadow since their first awkward meeting as young foals, when they both happily seemed to focus on Livinia instead. Even now, she sees him and immediately wonders where his sister is but the question doesn’t come out. Liv who was filled with more life than either Beyza or Jamie seemed to be, the girl who needed fangs to feast and who gained her sustenance right from the beating heart of another animal. Sometimes Beyza wonders if she would feel more alive if she did the same but the desire to try has not found her yet.
The starkness of blood against her white-as-white-can-be coat reminds her too much of the day she almost lost her own beloved sister.
Like the last time they met, soft tendrils of white smoke curl around her legs and cascade down her sides as she watches him approach.
Unlike last time, he meets her gaze.
That combined with the grin he wears encourages a wry and surprised smile in the crystalline eyes of this porcelain girl. “Is it?” Her own gaze is as sharp and unblinking as ever as she states simply. “I don’t think you cared for me very much the first time we met.” Beyza remembers feeling guilty that the brother of her new friend wouldn’t even look at her - as if she had done something wrong just by existing. This is already a vast improvement, though, so that guilt is not currently rising up to choke her just yet.
A fair question, certainly.
The darkness had consumed him the last time he’d seen her.
He had spent so many weeks in the shadows. He had been so much weaker then. (Still weak, of course, but he has grown and the exhaustion does not fit him the same way it did then). And then grin remains, all sharp teeth and an ink black mouth, as he meets her gaze steady. Still so much brighter than anything he’s used to, but he no longer fancies himself a coward. He will not cower, not like he did then.
His fog looks dirty compared to her white smoke. Smoke that reminds him of his sister and of the first time the three of them had convened.
“I hope you can forgive me,” he murmurs, the voice thin as all that fog. Weak. Hardly more than a whisper, just as it had been then. “For my actions the last time we met.”
He tilts his peculiar head, blinks those big yellow eyes. He remembers what he’d asked her the first time they’d met – where had she gotten all that magic? But he does not remember her answer, if she’d even offered him one. He is curious still but he does not ask again.
“I had spent most of my time in the darkness,” he explains, “I was weak then. Looking at you was like...” He pauses, casts a glance around that vast desert, the black mouth pressed into a thin line. So thin that the mouth disappears altogether. “Well, I suspect it was like looking directly into the sun.” And there he grins, all teeth.
She does not correct him but Beyza knows that it is her sister, Caledonia, who truly shines like the sun - not herself. This youth feels like the moon in comparison, like she is just reflecting the warmth cast from her twin. It is not with bitterness that she feels this way, just a sense that Caledonia is alive in a way she is not. Much like Livinia. She is not sure she could ever try to explain that to someone but it is a truth that has settled into her heart.
Beyza feels guilty about how she had been such an eyesore the first time they met, which tumbles into a cycle with annoyance because she does not think she should feel guilty at all just for being herself. “I would have obscured myself with a cloud back then if I could have.” She looks down to see the mist swirling gently at her sides and knows it does little to diminish the sheer brightness of her entire self. There is a part of her that wants to shine all the brighter - but for whatever reason, she cannot quite grasp her magic from that cold and petty place. It will not react to the desire to do someone else harm, even if it’s only to their retinas.
But she also does not offer to darken her colour to make it easier on him. She’s not yet decided on whether she will forgive him for the way he had made her feel last time.
Instead, she just smiles faintly, her white eyes looking up to the sky for a moment as she speaks aloud another train of thought. “I have never found looking into the sun to be painful, but perhaps I am too much like it for it to burn.”
Can fire burn other fire?
Her gaze drops, her blinks few and far between and she finds herself tilting her head much like he is - unable to deny that she is very curious about him. “Have you been spending more of your time in the light, then?”
06-29-2020, 07:33 PM (This post was last modified: 06-29-2020, 07:34 PM by jamie.)
from the destruction, out of the flame
And he means it, but there is nothing kind there. Not with the way the teeth are so sharp and the mouth is so deeply black. Not with the way the expression on his featureless does not change.
He smiles, but it looks more like pain. And perhaps it is, because he has had two constant companions from the moment he was born: the fog and the pain. Everything he feels is filtered through the ache, comes out sideways, hard to translate.
“I could not have asked you to do that,” he wheezes. And thinks that, had he thought about it, he could have used his fog to obscure her just as easily as she could have obscured herself. How it would have pained him to have her think him rude, though. Ruder than she already thought him anyway. Rude for the way that he had been unable to meet her eye. Rude for the way he had been unable, almost, to even lift his gaze from the ground.
He watches her turn her gaze skyward, as if to shackle her focus directly to the sun herself. It turns his stomach, tightens up his windpipe, makes his breath rattle. And he wants to reach out and touch her, draw her focus back to him. But to touch her would surely accomplish nothing, because he is nothing but vapor. He has learned that, though he had thought he was once, he is not real like they are real.
“That must be it,” he agrees, breathless. Shifts his weight to ease the aching in his knees.
She looks at him again and he feels, quite curiously, like she is the center of the universe. Yes, she is the sun. And he some hapless planet caught in her gravity.
“Yes,” he rasps, “though I think it is about as fond of me as I am of it.” There another specter-grin, head tilted all peculiar. “It does not love me the same way it loves you.”
07-01-2020, 07:54 PM (This post was last modified: 07-01-2020, 07:54 PM by Beyza.)
She smiles back at him, finding herself warming up to this sharp-grinned shadow despite the lack of pleasant memories. Maybe he wasn’t quite as bad as she had been thinking this whole time.
“I wonder if it still counts as love,” she muses out loud “if there is no choice.” The light loves her, but she does not imagine there’s anything sweet about it. Not like the way her twin seems to be warmth incarnate. “But perhaps I can win over the shadows, one day. They are… elusive.” Beyza wonders, belatedly, if that is an odd thing to say to someone that is an embodiment of shadows but the mist rolls off her back as though emphasizing her point. Even her fog is filled with light while Anaxarete and Jaime both seem to belong to completely.
What is it like to disappear?
Her edges begin to fade and blur but she snaps herself out of those thoughts and back into the present with the faintest trace of a frown.
She thinks now of the way he shifts and rasps out his words - and she can feel the tingle of her magic as it reacts to her desire to help. It is an effort not to just send it forward in cool, soothing waves. Instead, she sends words.
“Are you in pain? I can help relieve it if you’d like. Give you a break - at least temporarily.” She’s wary about using her magic without permission or approval now and her overuse of caution makes her voice quiet as she prepares to recoil at the rejection she has come to expect.
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